25 , 2004
Will Smith (Detective Spooner) – brutha robot hunter gits jiggy with it.
Bridget Moynahan (Susan) – robot groupie.
Bruce Greenwood (Robertson) – evil Caucasian corporate baddie.
Alan Tudyk (Sonny) – iPod with an attitude.
Fiona Hogan (V.I.K.I.) – Mrs. Microsoft with an attitude.
I’m originally from Chicago, so imagine my surprise when I learned from “I-(comma)-Robot” that in 31 years the town of my birth will be besieged by blue-eyed Caucasian robots intent upon taking over the world – oh, wait a minute … isn’t the Chicago Democratic Machine doing that already?
I, Robot borrows the title, a few whacked ideas about robotics and the now famous three laws of “conscious machines” from Isaac Asimov; but this film is mostly pure shoot-‘em-up action flick; it is not very cerebral – organic, mechanical or otherwise. Here’s the plot of I, Robot in a byte: Black cop pursues Robot Whitey to find out why the robot committed deicide (for those of you in publik skool, look it up).
To save you time searching in your Asimov file (for those of you in publik skool, look HIM up), the three laws of conscious robots are as follows: 1) A robot cannot harm a human being nor allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey a human being’s orders, unless that order conflicts with rule #1. 3) A robot must protect itself from harm, unless doing so conflicts with rules #1 and #2. Boy … what would Al Gore the 2x4 say to that?
Too bad we can’t impose those tenets on the Kerry/Edwards campaign, eh?
The PC in I, Robot is obvious from the very start. Here we have pasty-faced, blue-eyed (some are yellowish-green-eyed) mechanical men in cahoots with an Evil White Capitalist CEO, perpetrating secretive evildoings upon an unsuspecting yet trusting public. And who is going to save the day? Why, the caring, sensitive black man who knows the Evil Whitey is lying to him; that’s who.
Caucasians are inherently evil; especially Caucasians with big money who run big companies. They are all involved in a global plot to abuse and control hapless minorities. I know this, because Hollyweird tells me so.
Imagine the wailing from the left if the racial roles in I, Robot were reversed – white cops chasing down black robots. Oh, wait a minute … didn’t that happen in Chicago in 1968? Just asking.
Mo’ gigs of PC swap space in I, Robot when we see Spooner (Will Smith) getting chastised over “… having a prejudice against robots.” Notice how they use the word “prejudice” and not the word “profiling.” Know why? Because when it comes to police work, “profiling,” racial or otherwise, is often merely good police work. Bet you won’t see that on the evening news. Spooner doesn’t trust robots and sneers at them; calling them “canners.” Substitute the “N-word” for “canners” and stand back as the liberal’s blood pressure raises to the point that their heads explode in rage (then Al Sharpton stages a protest and Jesse Jackson leaps in front of the camera, etc. etc. etc. – you know the drill). Spooner is right-on however, the robots are gearing up for something malodorous; but no one believes him – especially white cops who chide him in the office and laugh at him in public. But y’all know them white coppers; ya just can’t trust ‘em.
Police officers are bigots bent upon harassing and demeaning innocent citizens. Cops often have secret meetings, held in donut shops, to discuss evil plans on how to rid the streets of unwanted non-Caucasians. White cops and black cops have separate and differing job requirements. I know this, because Hollyweird tells me so.
Then there is the main robot in question; the one who causes all the problems in the first place; the robot that is at once the most amazing and the most dangerous: “Sonny.” Take one letter “n” out of Sonny’s name and see what you get.
Bad International Corporate computerized robots! Bad bad bad!
There is also another creepy reference to Sonny. Sonny is the first creation of a white-lab-coated whacko. Later, this lab-coat loon is found splattered like a tomato on the atrium floor of the robot factory. First creation of his kind; first as in Son, as in Son of … well, you get the idea. What we have here is a lesson in what can happen if you decide to play God – you get spattered like a squashed tomato. What was that old line … “Yo’ arms too short to box with God.”
As with all sci-fi stories, I, Robot has megabytes of implausibilities. To begin with, no one questions why a corporation wants to give away it’s most sophisticated up-to-date product. There is an entire scene where a giant house-wrecking robot smashes the house of the recently deceased Dr. Lanning (James Cromwell); the man who invented Sonny. This home-wrecker robot looks like one of those Saturday morning villains from The Power Rangers. Naturally Smith is inside the house when the robot commences smashing the place and he has to run for his life. The police seem to be okay with destruction of possible evidence. Why would this home, with all the deceased’s stuff still in it, be scheduled for destruction anyway? Why would there be no safety valve installed into the robot’s programming? Later, we see that the evil Caucasian robots have surrounded the US Robotics building, so our heroes have to sneak in through an access tunnel. How come the robots don’t know about the access tunnel? They know everything else. Then there is the issue of just how much punishment the human body can take. Smith routinely gets tossed around, smacked off walls and crunched into piles of whatever is handy to bounce him off. Then there is the issue of why Spooner doesn’t trust robots. We see in flashbacks that a robot chose to save Spooner from drowning, choosing to save him instead of a little girl. The robot supposedly made this choice based upon survival probability. This whole flashback story doesn’t come across very well and it doesn’t seem like a good reason to hate robots.
All that being said, there are some fun things to look for in I, Robot. See Will Smith flex his new buffed up self in front of the camera about 100 times. See glaringly obvious product placements for AUDI, Converse All Stars, Fed-Ex, JVC and Ovaltine. See a really cool parking garage that automatically hangs your car up like laundry on a clothesline. See robot busses that can drive sideways. See robots. See robots run. Run, robots, run.
All of this summer smash-‘em-up cacophony leads to a convoluted, esoteric ending that … well, if you can figure it out; you let me know what the heck it’s all about.
One thing I did not need to see is Will Smith’s butt. What is it about movie stars mooning us these days anyway?
I, Robot has four of the five Bachelor B’s: Blood, Beasts, Bashes and Bombs. No Breasts. We do see Smith’s butt, however. Did I mention Smith’s butt? Just thought I would, since he apparently wants you to see it. Maybe it’s all part of his gettin’ jiggy wit it thing. I dunno.
So if you want to see explosions, car chases, rampaging robots and Will Smith’s butt, then this is the flick for you.
I give I, Robot three Capitalist Dollar Signs (out of 5).